Tag Archives: Reviews

The best fundraising analytics/modeling blog I’ve seen…

I’m always on the lookout for good resources to inform and improve the work I do, especially when it comes to prospect research, analytics, predictive modeling, and fundraising. Generally, it’s hard to say there’s a lot out there that deals with all of these topics. You can find things on prospect research; boatloads of people seem to write about fundraising; analytics and predictive modeling are mushrooming in a number of sectors — and so is the writing about them. But there don’t seem to be a whole lot of people writing about analytics in fundraising, so I was really pleasantly surprised to stumble onto Kevin MacDonell’s blog, “CoolData.”

Kevin clearly knows his stuff when it comes to analytics and statistical techniques. He covers a wealth of topics, and while he claims to be a “non-expert,” his thorough understanding of the nearly-always-complex subject matter is exemplified by how well he explains things in his posts. (Kevin was a journalism major. I’m guessing that, based on the quality of my own writing here, you can tell that I was not.)

As any CRISP-DM process model enthusiast will attest, a quality predictive modeling project requires good business understanding and good data understanding. By extension, I would opine that any quality fundraising analytics professional will also possess solid understanding of both the business (fundraising) and the data and the techniques required to deal with that data. By FURTHER extension, the best fundraising analytics resources also get to the heart of good business understanding and good data understanding. CoolData definitely hits the mark where this is concerned.

Kevin appears to have started CoolData a mere six months ago, and he has already populated the blog with LOTS of great posts. I look forward to seeing what else CoolData will cover.

Google’s Chrome

Time magazine recently published an article extolling the virtues of Google’s web browser, Chrome. (See here.) One of their key points was that Chrome is substantially faster than its primary competitors, Internet Explorer and Firefox.

How could this be? I’d heard nothing about this, and Chrome seems to have been around for a while — long enough so that if it really were any good, there would have been some buzz. But there was none that I knew of. Far as I knew, Chrome was a dud (see also Land of the LostSnakes on a Plane, et al).

So the article came as something of a surprise to me, and it prompted me to try out Chrome. Turns out,  Google’s new browser is fast! Pretty much every page I visited loaded up much more quickly than Firefox (my first browser of choice). The setup was VERY easy and quick, and Chrome was smart enough to set itself up exactly how I had Firefox configured.

When I would use Firefox, I’d frequently run into problems with LexisNexis for Development Professionals — I’d initiate a search, and it would start thinking, and then it’d just stop. I’d have to hit reload or back (sometimes a couple of times) to get it to complete the search, and would typically take several seconds. (“Several seconds? Well, somebody call a ‘wah-mbulance…”) With Chrome, those seconds are pretty consistently reduced.

Being that I spend upwards of 75% of my day navigating the internet, every second counts. So this increased efficiency in a web browser was a welcome development. After just a day with Chrome, I’m pretty sure I’m a convert.

The only downside I’ve seen to this point is that Chrome seems to have a hard time working with Logmein.com, a program I use to work remotely. (Which was especially disappointing, considering that this seems to be one of the slower sites I access; I was hoping Chrome could come to the rescue here as well.) And, I suspect that there will be a few more inconveniences and downsides.

I have a hard time imagining what might persuade me to abandon Chrome — it’s fast, it’s easy, it’s slick, it’s free… Check it out!